Kyle Busch is one of the most polarizing figures in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, something many assume is a result of his “Rowdy” reputation. But considering NASCAR is a series that prides itself on having a history of drivers with strong personalities, there has to be another reason.
And Busch’s crew chief, Adam Stevens, thinks he knows what it is.
The No. 18 crew chief appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” to give his perspective on the public’s perception of the 2015 Cup champion. And although Stevens thinks fans take issue with Busch’s radio communication, he said neither he, the No. 18 team nor Joe Gibbs Racing staff is offended by it.
“I think people — you know, if they can do a sound bite on the radio like they do on a lot of the shows on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or on the websites — people are taking some of that stuff at face value,” Stevens said. “If he says something fiery on the radio or blows off a little steam, there’s not a single person on my team, or inside Joe Gibbs Racing, that takes any offense to anything he says on the radio.”
From the outside looking in, it’s easy to assume Busch is placing the blame for his struggles solely on his crew when he lashes out during a race. but Stevens says the heated exchanges actually can benefit the group, as everybody on the team gets frustrated when things aren’t going right.
“So him blowing off steam gives us a chance to blow off steam, and maybe get some of us refocused so we can do a better job — give him what he needs, or have a better pit stop or whatever the case may be,” Stevens told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I think you can’t underestimate his will to win, his desire to win and his desire to get behind the wheel of anything and go out there and prove what he can do.”
The 39-year-old crew chief also noted that lots of “Rowdy’s” critics only dislike him because of his success, as was evident Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, so he doesn’t mind when fans are booing.
Thumbnail photo via Matthew O’Haren/USA TODAY Sports Images
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